Starbucks gift cards for homeless census participants

      EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County carried out its annual count of homeless people in shelters and transitional housing facilities this week.

      The homeless participating in the survey, approximately 300 men and women, were given a $5 Starbucks gift card, purchased by the county.

      The county made its first count back in 1991.

      Officials visited the eight agencies providing shelter and transitional housing throughout the region.

      Homeless individuals were asked to complete surveys about their personal history and living situation.

      Once the data is compiled, it will be given to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

      The local and federal government depend on the collected information to determine the needs of homeless people, and where funding should be allocated.

      Pearl Wolfe, who manages the effort for Lane County, says many of those surveyed are struggling with mental health issues, and expressed the difficulty in obtaining full-time employment.